Zhang Dejiang (L), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, meets with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis in Riga, Latvia, April 12, 2017. Zhang paid a three-day official visit to Latvia, which ended on Friday. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
RIGA, April 14 (Xinhua) -- China and Latvia have pledged to enhance parliamentary exchanges and step up their all-round cooperation.
Visiting top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang and Latvian leaders agreed on this during Zhang's three-day official visit to the country, which ended on Friday.
While meeting with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), hailed the stable growth of bilateral ties over the past years, especially since the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic ties last year.
Calling Latvia a trustworthy good friend and partner of China in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region and the European Union, Zhang said China greatly appreciates the positive attitude of the Latvian government, parliament and society in developing friendly cooperation with China.
Vejonis said Latvia-China ties are experiencing an all-time high, adding that he believed Zhang's visit would promote the further growth of bilateral cooperation in various areas.
He said he hoped to cement all-round cooperation with China and upgrade bilateral ties.
During his meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, Zhang said the Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, had witnessed important progress in China's cooperation with countries along the route.
"China appreciates Latvia's participation in the Belt and Road project, and the successful hosting of the fifth China-CEE summit late last year," Zhang said, urging to make full use of existing bilateral mechanisms to facilitate stronger cooperation.
China encourages its enterprises to invest in Latvia, and hopes to increase agricultural and wood product imports from the country, he added.
Zhang called on Latvia to play a positive role in cementing Europe-China cooperation, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
Considering China as Latvia's most important partner in Asia, Kucinskis said his country is ready to play a greater role in the Belt and Road Initiative and CEE-China cooperation. He welcomed Chinese companies to participate in Latvia's infrastructure projects, including ports and a joint railway project in the Baltic Sea area.
During their talks, Zhang and Latvian Parliament Speaker Inara Murniece agreed to boost closer parliamentary cooperation, consolidate political trust and facilitate cultural exchanges.
Murniece said the Latvian parliament expects to forge closer ties with the Chinese NPC to contribute to the sustained growth of bilateral relations.
Zhang and Murniece signed an MOU regarding cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries.
During his stay in Riga, Zhang met with leaders of various parties of the Latvian parliament, calling on them to support friendly ties with China. He also paid a visit to the National Library of Latvia.
Latvia is the first leg of Zhang's four-nation tour on April 12-21, which will also take him to Lithuania, Belarus and Russia.